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Sitting too much: the health risks and how to avoid them

Unfortunately, sitting too much can cause issues for our physical and mental health. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the negative impacts of prolonged sitting and provide practical tips to combat them.

The health risks

Sitting for long periods of time contributes to poor posture, muscular imbalances, and weakened core muscles, which can lead to problems like back pain and greater risk of falls. It can also negatively affect mental health, leading to increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.1

Studies have also shown that too much sitting is associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.1 , 2

Combatting the risks of sitting

Here are simple strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting:

  1. Take frequent breaks: set reminders to stand up and move every 30 minutes. Use these breaks to stretch, walk around, or perform simple exercises like squats or lunges. Even short bursts of activity can make a significant difference.
  2. Switch between standing and sitting: consider using a standing desk or adjustable workstation to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Standing engages your muscles, improves circulation, and burns more calories than sitting.
  3. Move whenever possible: find opportunities to add movement to your day, like squeezing in a quick stroll at lunch. Make it a habit to engage in physical activities during your leisure time too – even 5 minutes of stretching while watching TV is good. Or try some of our standing exercises to build strength – see more in our Activity Plan.
  4. Ergonomic comfort: ensure your workspace is set up to assist with posture and reduce strain on your body. Adjust your chair height, position your monitor at eye level, and use a comfortable chair suitable for you.
  5. Stay mindful of your posture: pay attention to your posture while sitting and adjust as needed. Sit straight, engage your core muscles, and avoid slouching or hunching forward.

Remember, every little bit of movement counts, so make it a priority to stand up, stretch, and incorporate regular physical activity into your day. Be kind to your body and mind by moving throughout the day.



  1. “The Dangers of Sitting: Why Sitting Is the New Smoking.” Better Health Channel. July 4, 2022. [Accessed 7 August 2023]
  2. “Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns WHO.” World Health Organisation. April 4, 2022. [Accessed 7 August 2023]

Last updated: May 29, 2024 at: 9:01 am

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